February 14, 2021 Nick DeYoung

What Do We Do When A Christian Leader Falls?…..Again

What Do We Do When A Christian Leader Falls?…..Again

My Thoughts on Ravi Zacharias

The news broke within the last few weeks that beloved apologist Ravi Zacharias had truly engaged in behind the scenes sexual misconduct for a significant portion of his ministry. There has been a lot written on the story, and there are various opinions about what that means for Ravi and his reputation as well as the RZIM organization going forward. It is not my intention to add to the overabundance of noise but to speak a few sentences on my thoughts as a pastor and church leader.

Like many church leaders, I greatly admired Ravi’s work because of his ability to paint a picture of who God is, the work that He has done through history and specifically the cross, and the necessary response of us as humanity to turn back to Him. I always felt like Ravi was building a solid case for Christianity. I have heard that many people came to Jesus because of the work of Ravi Zacharias. 

In a time like this, especially with the new revelations coming out, we again realize that we are not saved because of a mere man. We are saved because of Jesus Christ and the Holy Spirit’s call in our lives. Let me refer to a quote by Jennifer Michelle Greenberg, a Twitter influencer. Jennifer Michelle Greenberg is a survivor of sexual abuse and an advocate for those who have experienced it. 

“If you feel you were lead to Christ by Ravi Zacharias and feel shaken, please hear me: You were not saved by any man, but by the Holy Spirit working through a sinner. Regardless of his wickedness, the Spirit who called you is Holy. Cling to God. Do not fear. He is faithful.”

We can be confident in our relationship with God because the Holy Spirit has called us out and welcomed us into the family of God because of Jesus Christ’s great sacrifice for us on the cross. This is where our confidence is found.

Ephesians 2:8-9 - For you are saved by grace through faith, and this is not from yourselves; it is God’s gift—not from works, so that no one can boast.

Acts 16:30-31 - “Sirs, what must I do to be saved?” They said, “Believe in the Lord Jesus, and you will be saved—you and your household.”

If you have experienced a shake-up in your faith because of the actions and hypocrisy of Ravi Zacharias, please seek comfort from the Lord and ask Him to give you a renewed confidence in your standing as a child of God. You are not asking God to make you His child again, as if you had lost that connection. That standing is already secure. You are merely asking God to again fill you with the hope, promises, and confidence that comes through Him. Fellow brothers and sisters know that you are loved completely and fully by God.

But we still have the question, sitting on the table, about what to do with Ravi Zacharias and his ministry. There are many opinions about that. Some would say that we have to burn all his books and tapes, never to be influenced by him again. That Ravi’s life and behavior has a direct connection to the fruit of the organization’s ministry. Others would say that God will judge Ravi, so we need to drop the matter and let it go as it has a chance to divide the church even more. After all, don’t we see sexual sin throughout the Bible? Shouldn’t we just consider Ravi another in line with the story of King David? King David was a great man and leader, and his slip-up didn’t disqualify his work. Ravi was a great prophet voice in the wilderness, calling people to Jesus. Hasn’t his passing closed the door on this issue?

The door has not closed because this man spoke influentially for the Lord while living a double life of blatant and destructive sin. The door has not closed because, again, another prominent leader in the Church has tarnished the name of those who lead for the sake of Christ. And most importantly, the door has not closed because there are still victims out there. 

The official report coming from RZIM shows a pattern of sexual misconduct, secrecy, deception, and even rape on the part of Mr. Zacharias. This happened over decades of service in the Lord’s name. The difference we see in Ravi Zacharias and King David over the sin of rape is that King David fell on his face in repentance when it became known. King David was willing to live in the consequences of his sin and suffered the punishment for that sin. King David was repentant. What we see in the testimony of Mr. Zacharias is one of continued deception and denial even when confronted with the allegations that turned out to be true. This is why we can’t just close the door.

There is a sickness in this world called sin. God speaks pretty harshly for those engaged in sexual immorality because it is a sin that tarnishes and destroys the profound beauty that God created for marriage relationships, which is ultimately a picture of Christ and His Church. 

1 Corinthians 6:18-20 - Flee sexual immorality! Every other sin a person commits is outside the body, but the person who is sexually immoral sins against his own body. Don’t you know that your body is a temple of the Holy Spirit who is in you, whom you have from God? You are not your own, for you were bought at a price. So glorify God with your body.

There is a sickness in the world called sin, and we see it continue to creep into the Body of Christ. This is not a new struggle, and we are not unique in our own struggle. When we attempt to cover sin up, we damage the Holy Name of God because we are His people and His representatives here on this earth. We must no longer do this. Men and women now is the time for action. If there are secrets that we are keeping in our lives, now is the time to confess them and seek help. If we find ourselves caught in this deadly trap of living a sexually loose life, then we must aggressively seek to get out from under that as it will continue to build destructive patterns in our lives. As we have seen by the testimony of Ravi Zacharias. Men and women, if we find ourselves addicted to pornography, we must cleanse that from our digital devices, our subscriptions, and viewing habits. But maybe most importantly, as the church, we must seek to restore and not destroy those who come to us in need. If repentance is on someone’s lips, we must hear and help and not cast away. We honor those who come in confession because they are turning their hearts away from something that has held a tight grip on them for a long time. Let us give voice to the victims of sin and hear the confession of those in repentance. May we be a people focused on grace and compassion.

We all have to decide what to do with Ravi’s teaching. Honestly, at this point, I can’t stand the sight of his pictures, and I won’t be able to open up one of his books or watch one of his videos without seeing the victims that were preverbally left on the side of the road while he was preaching Jesus. Maybe a time will come when I can separate the man from the material. But not yet. We all have to let our conscience dictate that for us. 

Ravi Zacharias’s story is now one of an extremely flawed man, with little or no repentance for the harm that he caused to others. The Church will continue to feel the ripples of these actions for a long time. Let us not dismiss them because we will further communicate the message that we are against victims. Let us continue to pray for our leaders and those who hold high profile ministries because the enemy desires to take them out to destroy the Church. I am thankful that I don’t have to decide the state of other’s souls. Instead, look to God as the one who is our high and just Judge. If there are logs in our own eyes, let’s seek to remove them and model repentance and healing from the sins of this world. 

When a Christian leader falls we are, again, reminded of the great hold of sin on this world and we seek to be a people that repents of our own sin and keep our eyes focused on our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ.

RZIM Report